5 Quick Fixes For The Most Common Summer Skin Dilemmas
It’s that time of year again! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and our skin’s needs are a-changing.
Every year, like clockwork, when the temperature really starts to heat up (the aircon remote comes out, an array of bikinis are on top of the washing pile and linen clothes are everything) our skin starts to misbehave.
It’s nothing major but enough to warrant a few product swaps and a side of expert advice. Here, Charlotte Turner, Head Trainer at Clarins Australia, shares five quick fixes for the most common summer skin dilemmas.
Oily skin and summer go hand in hand – especially if you already had oily or combination skin to begin with. When the mercury rises, “the heat and humidity liquifies sebum and prevents it from evaporating from the skin’s surface, causing it to feel sticky and hold onto impurities,” Turner explains. Left untreated, oily skin can lead to clogged pores and more zits.
Step 1: Try a toner. After cleansing but before moisturising, use a toner containing oil-controlling ingredients (hello salicylic and lactic acids) to help regulate the production of sebum.
Step 2: For an instant result, try a blurring makeup primer to help absorb oil and give a more unified skin texture. Turner recommends Clarins Instant Poreless ($44).
Interestingly, not everyone suffers from oily skin during the warmer months; for some, their skin actually goes the other way and becomes more dry than usual. (Go figure!) According to Turner, this is perfectly normal: “Due to excess sweating the skin loses moisture and can become dehydrated, particularly when the environmental humidity is low, causing excessive trans epidermal water loss.”
Before we can throw a product at the problem, we have an important question: is your skin dry or dehydrated? Dry skin lacks oil whereas dehydrated skin lacks water.
If you have a dry skin type, “it is usually genetically determined and exacerbated by ageing” and basically means your skin doesn’t produce enough oil. This skin type is dry all year round.
On the other hand, dehydrated skin is caused by external factors (so… summer?) and means that your skin feels tight and any fine lines are more prominent.
Dry skin: Turner suggests looking for products “rich in oils such as shea butter, mango butter and nut oils.”
Dehydrated skin: This is where our friends hyaluronic acid and glycerin come into play. Being humectants, these ingredients are moisture magnets and help draw water back into the skin.
PIGMENTATION & MELASMA
Ooft, this is a common skin gripe, particularly during summer (thanks to UV damage) and pregnancy (cheers hormones). When it comes to the former, “the sun stimulates the release and spread of melanin through the upper layers of the epidermis and magnifies the look of brown spots,” Turner tells Gritty Pretty. “It also causes inflammation, which can stimulate additional disordered activity of melanocytes.”
Prevention is the best cure – nip the problem at the bud by using a hat, sunblock and staying out of direct sunlight where possible.
Step 1: If your pigmentation or melasma has already spiked, use a vitamin C serum to help fade its appearance.
Fact: bad chafe happens to good people. “When there is too much adipose tissue under skin that is fine in texture, the result is chafe,” Turner explains.
Not a problem, fortunately there’s a cream for that. Try Neat 3B Cream ($21.95) and you’ll be walking easy again in no time.
Summer can lead to breakouts for a few reasons. For starters, an increase in oil production (see point one) can lead to clogged pores which can then lead to breakouts. If your skin is acne-prone at the best of times, the warmer weather can lead to more zits “if the skin becomes hot and inflamed,” Turner says.
Bacne also likes to rear its head at this time of year. This happens when skin is inflamed and there is more rubbing of the skin, which can break down inflamed pores. Whatever you do, do not scratch them, as “this will spread the infection through the skin.”
Step 1: For pimples on your face, neck, shoulders, in between your toes or wherever they turn up (!) apply a spot treatment. These products are high in active ingredients and get to work at the scene of the crime but are too strong to use all-over.
Step 2: For bacne, a body wash containing active ingredients (think: AHAs or BHAs) can help unclog pores and speed up cell turnover which will help to minimise the pimples you already have and prevent future breakouts.